DoD Food Analysis and Diagnostics
DoD FADL Microbiology Section 

Performs microbiological analysis for food and water to ensure food safety and protection of the DoD food supply.

Points of Contact:
Supervisor: 210-221-4215; DSN: 471-4215 
Team Leads: 210-295-4719/4753/4935; DSN:  421-4719/4753/4935

Related Information

Foodborne Illness Investigation

 

FADL Microbiology acid pH calibration by Blossom Catacutan



ENVIRONMENTAL SWABS/SPONGES


There are two different swabs required, one for APC/coliforms and the other for Listeria. Supplies may be ordered from: BIOTRACE International BioProducts, 1-800-729-7611, www.biotrace.com.

a. For APC and coliform testing – order REDISWAB 10 mL Neutralizing Buffer: catalog # RS-960-10-NB.

b. For Listeria testing – order REDISWAB 10 ml DE/Neutralizing Broth: catalog # RS-960-10-DE.

Contact the laboratory’s Microbiology section prior to conducting sponge sampling.

 

A. Testing as part of a local monitoring program or in response to nonconforming Microbiological lab results:

1.  Units that maintain a routine swabbing program are responsible for procuring environmental swabs for their own program. The laboratory will supply small quantities of swabs on request.

2.  Swabs of equipment should be taken after cleaning and sanitizing, but prior to processing. Depending upon the testing required each surface area should be swabbed once for Aerobic Plate Count (APC) & coliforms using the swab from a tube of NEUTRALIZING BUFFER AND/OR use a swab from a tube of DE/NEUTRALIZING BROTH to swab an adjacent area for Listeria. Use a separate swab for each surface and for each test (APC & coliforms versus Listeria).

Repeat this process for all remaining surface areas.

3.  Ensure the swab tubes are properly labeled with the description of the item swabbed and swab type (APC/coliforms or Listeria). On the sample submission form, describe the size of the surface area sampled and what piece of equipment or surface area was tested.

4.  After sampling, swabs must be shipped CHILLED to the laboratory on wet ice or frozen gel packs.  For valid results, the following points must be ensured:

    a. Testing must begin within 24 hours of sampling; therefore the swabs must be shipped the day of sampling.

    b. Ship for overnight delivery.

    c. Maintain temperature at 0 to 4.4°C (32 to 40 °F) during transit.

    d. Include an unopened swab tube as a temperature “Pilot Sample” in each shipping container. Label the tube “Pilot”.

 

B. Sampling as part of the Veterinary Service Prime Vendor Destination Sampling Program

1.  The Public Health Command District (PHCD) is responsible for procuring environmental swabs for this program.

2.  When tasked by Food Protection Portfolio, each PHCD will perform environmental swabbing at each of the commissaries within their area of operation. Swabs will be taken at the commissary delicatessen, meat market or fish market. Three separate surfaces areas will be swabbed:

    a. Mechanical equipment such as cutters, slicers, etc.

    b. Product contact surface such as a processing counter surface, cutting boards, etc.

    c. A hand held utensil such as knife, spoon, etc.

3. Swabs will be taken after cleaning and sanitizing, but prior to processing. Each surface area will be swabbed once for Aerobic Plate Count (APC) & coliforms using the swab from a tube of NEUTRALIZING BUFFER. Then use a swab from a tube of DE/NEUTRALIZING BROTH to swab an adjacent area for Listeria. Use a separate swab of the appropriate type for each surface and for each test (APC & coliforms versus Listeria).

If the personnel tasked for swabbing have access to a Bioluminescence analyzer, swab another adjacent area for analysis on this analyzer.

Repeat this process for the two remaining surface areas. You should have a total of six swabs (nine if using the Bioluminescence analyzer) when the task is complete.

3.  Ensure the swab tubes are properly labeled with the description of the item swabbed and swab type (Listeria or APC/coliforms). On the sample submission form, describe the size of the surface area sampled and what piece of equipment or surface area was tested.

If Bioluminescence testing was performed, enter the reading on page 2 of the DA Form 7539 in the “disposition block (Block 13)” of the Sample Number that corresponds with the APC & coliforms swab.  When the DoD FADL returns the results, the submitting unit can compare how their reading correlates with the APC swab count.

4.  After sampling, swabs must be shipped CHILLED to the laboratory on wet ice or frozen gel packs.  For valid results, the following points must be ensured:

    a. Testing must begin within 24 hours of sampling; therefore the swabs must be shipped the day of sampling.

    b. Ship for overnight delivery.

    c. Maintain temperature at 0 to 4.4°C (32 to 40 °F) during transit.

    d. Include an unopened swab tube as a temperature “Pilot Sample” in each shipping container. Label the tube “Pilot”.

 

FADL Microbiology neutral pH calibration by Blossom Catacutan